Updated: Nov 24
PR crises are hard to predict and can strike your business in an unprecedented manner. When they turn into disasters, they can destroy brand perception and even affect the profits in the long run. Therefore, it makes business sense to be prepared for them which in turn also gives you a competitive advantage. That said, are you equipped to deal with a PR crisis?
Have a plan in place
Don’t wait for a crisis to occur to force you into action. You are taking great risks if you do not have a crisis communication plan yet. Many businesses that do not plan are brought down to their knees in times of a crisis. A crisis management plan comprises the goals you may want to achieve, tactics that you may use, media strategy and post-crisis analysis. You also should have an idea of the potential problems that may crop up and be ready to tackle them. It’s crucial to have a spokesperson backed with a team to address the public or speak to the press on behalf of your company. This will ensure consistency in all your communication.
Don’t be in denial
In the PR world, it’s a sin to just sit back in the hope that the crisis may just pass. If you are clueless about what to do of the situation at hand, it may lead to inaction. There’s a whole world out there, your customers and the general public who will assess your every move to see how you are going to handle the crisis. The foremost step is to take accountability and responsibility for the mistakes that have been made. The next step is to map out the steps you are going to take as an organization to rectify the issue and ensure that it doesn’t repeat.
Each crisis is different, therefore each one requires careful thought on the best ways to deal with it. But what should remain common in all your dealings is open, clear and honest communication from your end. Refrain from any speculative statements and communicate the points that you can prove. If you do not have enough information, say so. The blame game is something that is never taken in a good light and it certainly doesn’t help the situation. The right way to go about is to take ownership and respond to clear the air.
Pick yourself up and rebuild
After the situation passes, it’s imperative that you chalk out a solid reputation building strategy. Even if the crisis was a major one, if you managed to handle it then there’s still hope. People will remember you with the way you conducted yourself during the crisis and it speaks volumes about your company. The focus now should be to gain the trust back and rethink your strategies for the coming days. Your every move, whether a new product launch or a new advertisement, should be aligned to allow you to put your best foot forward.
Leave it to the pros
Why? Because they are the ones who have vast experiences in dealing with all kinds of crises that have threatened to cripple various companies. If you are unsure of what steps to take that will lead your company to a better position, then seeking external help may be the right path for you. PR professionals specializing in crisis management will have a better idea of how to work around a particular situation and will be better equipped to plan a course of action that is built to your specific needs. Building reputation back is an uphill task and you will require able minds that can help you take your company to its former glory.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is reputation. It’s never a good idea to leave its management to chance but rather be in control of it. A well-handled PR crisis can not only help you gain newfound respect from your customers, the veterans, and other stakeholders but also gives you a chance to come out much stronger.